David LaChapelle was born in Connecticut in 1969. He trained as a fine artist at North Caroline School of the Arts before moving to New York. Upon his arrival LaChapelle enrolled at both the Art Students League and the School of Visual Arts. Not yet out of High School, he was offered his first professional job by Andy Warhol to shoot for Interview Magazine.
LaChapelle's images, both bizarre and gorgeous, have forged a singular style that is unique, original and perfectly unmistakable. He has photographed personalities as diverse as Tupac Shakur, Madonna, Amanda Lepore, Eminem, Philip Johnson, Lance Armstrong, Pamela Anderson, Li'l Kim, Uma Thurman, Elizabeth Taylor, David Beckham, Paris Hilton, Jeff Koons, Leonardo diCaprio, Hillary Clinton, Muhammad Ali, and Britney Spears, to name just a few. Once called the Fellini of photography, LaChapelle has worked for the most prestigious international publications and has been the subject of exhibitions in both commercial galleries and leading public institutions worldwide.
Recently ranked among the Top Ten Most Important People in Photography in the World by American Photo, LaChapelle has continued to garner numerous awards. His photography has been showcased in numerous galleries and museums, including Staley-Wise; Tony Shafrazi Gallery and Deitch Projects in New York; the Fahey-Klein Gallery in California; Goss Gallery in Dallas; and internationally at Artmosphere in Vienna; Camerawork in Germany; Reflex Amsterdam; Maruani & Noihomme in Belgium; Sozzani and Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Italy; The Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin; and at the Barbican Museum in London, to this day the most attended show in the museum's history. His uncompromising dedication to originality is legend in the competitive and harsh-judging worlds of fashion, film, advertising and contemporary art. His striking images have appeared on and in between covers of magazines such as Italian Vogue, French Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Rolling Stone and i-D.
In recent years LaChapelle has expanded his work to include music videos, live theatrical events and documentary film-making. His directing credits include music videos for artists such as Christina Aguilera, Moby, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, The Vines and No Doubt. "It's My Life" with Gwen Stefani won the award for best pop video at the MTV Music Video Awards and LaChapelle himself garnered the MPVA's Director of the Year award in 2004. His stage work includes Elton John's The Red Piano, the Caesar's Palace spectacular he designed and directed, and which was the top-selling show in Las Vegas for 2004. His burgeoning interest in film saw him make the short documentary Krumped, an award-winner at Sundance from which he developed RIZE, the feature film acquired for worldwide distribution by Lion's Gate Films. The film was released in the US and internationally in the Summer of 2005 to huge critical acclaim, and was chosen to open the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.
LaChapelle's work continues to be inspired by everything from art history to street culture, creating both a record and mirror of all facets of popular culture today. He is quite simply the only photographic artist currently working in the world today whose work has transcended the fashion and celebrity magazine context it was made for, and has been enshrined by the notoriously discerning and fickle contemporary art intelligentsia.